Cleaning And Organizing

How to Get Rid of Old Magazines

After cleaning out an attic, crawlspace, or garage, you might be overwhelmed at how many magazines have been collected over the years. One of the biggest causes of clutter is attachment to things, so if you get easily attached to magazines and other clutter-y things, it can be difficult to just throw things away.

Luckily, there are many options for getting rid of magazines in particular – magazines are a valuable literary resource, as they capture a place and time in the moment, so it is unfortunate to just throw them in the recycling. Here are some simple tricks you can use to de-clutter your home, reduce waste, and maybe make something cool in the process.

**Note – if you find yourself compulsively collecting newspapers and magazines and being irrationally attached to them, you may want to seek out a psychiatrist for help. This is usually a common symptom of compulsive hoarding.

1. Donate to a library or archive.

Libraries and archives often look for magazines to archive and lend out, so you may want to consider inquiring at your local library to see if they need a stack of magazines or two.

Magazines can also be a valuable resource for historians and students of history, so if you live in a city or town with a university or museum, you should inquire about donating to their collections.

2. Donate to a doctor’s office or nursing home.

There’s always been that running joke about old magazines in dentist and doctor’s offices – well, have you ever thought where they come from? A lot of people in your same situation donate magazines – people who want to get rid of them but don’t want to just throw them out. If you’re worried about wasting your old magazines, somebody will certainly have use for them in a medical office or some kind.

Nursing homes are also often looking for old magazines for their residents to read. This is a good option for you to both get rid of your magazines and do some good for your community.

3. Make a collage.

If you find yourself with a bunch of magazines you never read anymore, maybe it’s time to unleash your inner artist! There are countless ways to make beautiful art with old magazines, one of them being a collage.

This solution is simple – get a paperboard or canvas of some kind, gather some friends, and cut and paste as you go. Collages are fairly easy to make, and their DIY, punk-influenced aesthetic can certainly add some hipster flair to your living room.

If you have old copies of Natural Geographic, from the 70s or 80s in particular, these magazines make lovely collages. The warm, analog colours of old photography and the diverse subject matter of Natural Geographic make for an interesting work of art.

When you’re finished your masterpiece, perhaps you could even sell it on an arts and crafts marketplace like Etsy for a few dollars. People love handmade arts and crafts, so who knows? You might get an offer for more than you bargained for.

4. Use for painting and other messy jobs.

If you need to paint a room at some point, you should keep your magazines handy to make a spread to cover your floor. Magazines, mixed with newspapers, cardboard, and other scrap paper material, makes for a cheap, easy-to-clean-up solution for painting a room. Simply spread it across your floor, apply the paint wherever you need to, and clean up the mess afterwards.

5. Sell on eBay.

Even if you don’t have anything rare or valuable in your magazine stacks, people buy some weird stuff on the Internet. If you made a posting for a stack of magazines, either for free or a few dollars, somebody would surely take it off your hands. On the Internet, there really is a market for everything, so you may be surprised at what you can get rid of by a simple eBay or Kijiji posting.

6. Make papier-mâché.

Though some glossy papers can be difficult to work with, magazine pages can make great papier-mâché. Papier-mâché is made from applying newspaper and magazine paper to a thick soup of flour and paste – you can use papier-mâché to cover all kinds of surfaces, making them ripe for painting and other applications.

Depending on how large your project will be, the amounts of ingredients you will use may vary. But, you will want to fill a bowl with two parts white glue to one part water, and mix in a flour mixture of one part water and one part flour. Mix these ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency.

After you’ve made your mixture, you need to dip in the strips of magazine or newspaper you will use. Remove the excess mixture from the paper strips with your fingers, and apply the wet strips to whichever surface you are applying it to. You will want to add a few layers of paper to each area so that it is strong and easy to paint on.

Though it’s a messy process, it is also very fun to make new things with and change old things up a little more. For example – painting papier-mâché onto a flowerpot can bring your garden to life with unique, vibrant designs.

7. Recycle them.

If you do just want to throw away your old magazines, be sure to recycle them. As landfills fill up seemingly endlessly, we all need to do our part in reusing material like magazine paper. Simply put your magazines in a blue garbage bag or a cardboard box for your next garbage pickup, and away they go.

There really are a number of useful and creative things to do with magazines that don’t involve just throwing them away. As you’ve seen here, magazine paper is flexible enough to use as papier-mâché, can make a great clean-up for painting and drywall, and offers more than enough material to make a super cool collage with. So you may want to consider having an arts and crafts party before you chuck those stacks of magazines away! Good luck getting rid of your old magazines, whichever option you choose to use.

About the author

Nicole Harding

3 Comments

  • Is it legal, then, to take images from magazines and put them together to make an artistic work and then sell that work? Or is it somehow copyright infringement? I’ve been trying to figure this out because I am interested in potentially selling some of my collage work. Thanks!

  • Okay this is what I am aiming for. It has to do with throwing a large stack of magazines in the trash. Do I simply tear them up or what? Remember most magazines come with the name and address, and for some reason I was just wondering about that part too before throwing them in the trash. Thanks

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